By Kristen Johnson
In Church today we studied a text in Luke about Lazarus, the poor man, and the unnamed rich man. The rich man has his riches in life, and does not help Lazarus, who lays right outside his gate with sores that the dogs lick. When they die, the rich man goes to hell and the poor man gets his reward in heaven. The rich man wants to warn his family of what their fate will be if they don’t change their ways, but he is not given the opportunity to do so. The rich man’s family and friends have the opportunity in life to listen and make changes and that’s what they need to do. Luke 16:31 (NRSV): He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
There are so many issues to look at in this year’s U.S. Presidential debate that it’s hard to know where to begin. One issue constantly in flux in this country is that of healthcare. (Or perhaps it should be called health-sometimes or health-if-the-rich-think-you-deserve-it.)
Both big-party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have healthcare proposals that they hope to implement. The Commonwealth Fund (nonpartisan), using analysis provided by the RAND Corporation, completed a study recently of the two proposals and found the following:
- Under Trump’s plan, the number of uninsured people in fair or poor health could triple from 2.1 million people to 5.7-7.1 million. (When uninsured people end up in the hospital, the costs eventually wind up being paid by state and federal tax dollars.)
- Trump proposes to repeal “Obamacare” and replace it with a program that allows insurance to be sold across state lines, turning Medicaid into a block program, and a new income tax deduction for healthcare costs.
- Eliminating Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people from an estimated 24.9 million to 44.6 million under the Trump plan.
- Clinton’s plan includes new tax deductions for deductibles and co-pays, and a new public-option health plan sponsored by the government. (Halleljuah – sounds like single payer!!)
- Clinton’s plan would increase insurance coverage for an estimated 9.1 million people.
(Source: Associated Press)
Providing healthcare for its citizens should be a basic right for all citizens, particular in a wealthy nation like the U.S. Shame on politicians for cutting healthcare and refusing to reform it, especially for the poor. As of February of this year, Congress had tried to repeal Obamacare more than 60 times! (MSNBC)
I think if we could hear Lazarus now, he might again try to warn politicians about not caring for the needy. The sad truth is that they likely still wouldn’t listen, just like they didn’t when the rich man wanted to warn them from hell.
Proverbs 21:13 (NRSV): If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.
It’s shocking to me that so many Conservative Christians embrace Donald Trump as a candidate of choice. Healthcare is but one issue in the hundreds of issues in which Mr.Trump’s views directly disagree with the Bible.
The time has come, yet again, to make the cry for single payer healthcare in this country. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that politicians refer to the U.S. as the “greatest country on earth” when they spend decade after decade fighting over who “deserves” healthcare. It’s sickening.
Serve all with love.
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